Since the advent of the smartphone consumers, have been looking for the ‘next big thing’ in commercial mobile technology. That future was predicted to come in the form of small, mobile devices that you could wear on your head, arm, or wrist (pretty much everywhere, check out smart socks). Wearable technology was supposed to be big by now, but a series of unfortunate failures and weird-looking products has estranged pretty much everybody.
The Price is Just Too Damn High!
Take Google Glass, which Google began testing publicly in 2012, and costs around $1500 a pop. Still awaiting its commercial release, Google has been trying to build a following for the product among adventurers and explorers alike. Their website revolves around creating a product that will enhance mobile user experience. But in order for Glass to be successful, it will have to completely reinvent its image.
Sure, it’s cool. We have a pair here at TCI, and you can do some pretty interesting things with it. You can take pictures, videos, get directions, and play some games. Beyond that, it’s pretty useless. Glass is a luxury product right now, and not one that customers ‘need.’ Smartphones fill a need for the general public because of the need to have everything on-the-go. Products like the iPhone have enough memory and processing power to act as mini-computers. You can edit documents and presentations, make phone calls, and check your e-mail. You can store 10 contacts on Google Glass…
At $1500, Glass is a niche luxury product for tech-lovers, and not something that mainstreamers will actually wear (let alone pay for). Google has taken all of this criticism in stride, and will be attempting to release a new, cheaper, and more customizable version of Glass. Will it succeed? We’re a little skeptical.
I’ve Got a Wearable! Now What Do I Do With It?
Beyond price, the biggest problem for wearable technology is that customers have no idea what to do with them after they buy them. More often than not, fitness wearables become buried in the kitchen drawer amongst all the other miscellaneous products that are stuffed in there. Nike just fired its’ entire FuelBand team because they believe that there is no profitable future in wearables (at least not in the near future) and they’re probably right.
But backing out of the wearable technology industry could be potentially catastrophic for future advancements in technology. With smartphone and tablet growth slowing, wearables may be the only way for the mobile chip industry to continue the incredible amount of innovation it has achieved over the past decade. We’re rooting for you wearables! We know there’s a future for you out there somewhere we just need to learn to accept you. Hold in there.